Turkish ministers' sons held in graft probe

Sons of two cabinet ministers added to lengthening list of detainees as investigations for corruption continue.

Last updated: 21 Dec 2013 11:51
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Mayor of Fatih district Mustafa Demir was released but barred from traveling pending the probe [AFP]

Sixteen people, including the sons of two cabinet ministers, were added on Saturday to a lengthening list of those arrested as investigations for corruption continue.

Along with the sons of internal affairs and economy ministers, the general manager of state-owned lender, Halkbank, was also among those detained on Saturday as part of the graft investigation.

This arrests brings the total number of suspects detained as part of the probe to 24, the news service said, including various well-known businessmen and bureaucrats such as the chief executive of Halkan, Suleyman Aslan and Ali Agaoglu, a renowned construction tycoon.

Mayor of Istanbul district Fatih, Mustafa Demirand, who was previously detained, and son of the Environment and Urban Planning Minister have been released under judicial supervision, and are barred from going abroad and have to show up at a police station once a week.

The suspects are accused of accepting and facilitating corruption in tenders, money laundering and bribery to secure construction permits for protected areas, the Turkish media reported. Cash money of $4.5m had been seized at Aslan's house at the raids.

Ambassadors warned

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday warned some foreign ambassadors he might expel them over "provocative actions," amid mounting tensions over the anti-graft probe.

"Some ambassadors are engaged in provocative actions," Erdogan said in televised remarks in the Black Sea city of Samsun. "We don't have to keep you in our country".

He did not name the countries whose ambassadors he accused.

The investigation, seen by analysts to be symptomatic of growing tensions between Erdogan and Fethullah Gulen, an influential US-based cleric, has turned into one of the the biggest challenges facing the decade-long rule of the Development and Justice Party (AKP). 

Gulen cursed those responsible for the purging of police officers involved in the case.

"Those who don't see the thief but go after those trying to catch the thief, who don't see the murder but try to defame others by accusing innocent people - let God bring fire to their houses, ruin their homes, break their unities," Gulen said in a recording uploaded to one of his websites on Friday.

Gulen's words, invoking God's punishment, eliminate the abating of political tensions between him and Erdogan's AKP.

The tensions stem from the government's plans to abolish private prep schools that prepare students for the Turkish central university exam. Gulen owns a large network of such schools.

The government has retaliated to the probe, described by Erdogan as a "dirty operation" intending to smear his administration, by sacking tens of senior police commissioners from their positions in the Turkish National Police headquarters in the country's main cities.


Al Jazeera and agencies
Email Article
Print Article
Share article
Send Feedback
Featured on Al Jazeera
'Justice for All' demonstrations swell across the US over the deaths of African Americans in police encounters.
Six former Guantanamo detainees are now free in Uruguay with some hailing the decision to grant them asylum.
Disproportionately high number of Aboriginal people in prison highlights inequality and marginalisation, critics say.
Nearly half of Canadians have suffered inappropriate advances on the job - and the political arena is no exception.
Women's rights activists are demanding change after Hanna Lalango, 16, was gang-raped on a bus and left for dead.
Buried in Sweden's northern forest, Sorsele has welcomed many unaccompanied kids who help stabilise a town exodus.
A look at the changing face of North Korea, three years after the death of 'Dear Leader'.
While some fear a Muslim backlash after café killings, solidarity instead appears to be the order of the day.
Victims spared by the deadly disease are reporting blindness and other unexpected post-Ebola health issues.